For rapid descents: ZHAW researchers develop high-tech ski wax
Abrasion tests performed in the laboratory by ZHAW researchers proved that this photoreactive ski wax is indeed more durable than conventional wax. “The photoreactive ski wax proved to rub off twice as slowly as conventional high-performance ski wax,” according to Siegmann. The laboratory tests were followed by extensive field tests with ski specialists. The focus was on cross-country skiing because the boundary conditions could be monitored better. In cold weather conditions, the photoreactive ski wax showed the least friction. The time gain amounted to a saving of between 0.1 and 0.3 seconds in 20-second downhill runs, as compared with conventional high-performance ski wax. This equals an improvement in performance of up to 1.5 per cent. “This exceeded the improvement we had hoped for by far. The test runners didn't want to give back the photoreactive ski wax,” says Siegmann.
Soon, these successful test runs could be reflected in new best times at tournaments. The ZHAW's photoreactive ski wax will be used at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. Amateur skiers, however, will have to be patient.
“At present, applying the wax using mercury-vapour lamps is still too expensive,” Siegmann states. “As soon as the wax can be applied more economically, it will also be accessible to amateurs."
- Photografting of Perfluoroalkanes onto Polyethylene Surfaces via Azide/Nitrene Chemistry. Siegmann, K.; Inauen, J.; Villamaina, D.; Winkler, M. J. Appl. Surf. Sci. 2017, 396, 672-680.
- Spectroscopy on photografted polyethylene surfaces using a perfluorophenyl azide: Evidence for covalent attachment. Siegmann, K.; Inauen, J.; Sterchi, R.; Winkler, M. Surf Interface Anal. 2018, 50, 205-211.